View Full Version : PrC - Master of the Locked Bow

2007-01-21, 08:06 PM
Alright, warning time: The PrC, as it is, is not balanced.
It is the ill-conceived bastard child of various other PrCs, mixed in a vat of caustic soup and set into a mold formed by a blind man wielding a blunt chisel.

Well, maybe not that bad.

However, try as I might, the obvious flaws are not terribly obvious to me, and I suspect there are those who frequent these boards who, by a quick sweep of their eyes, can detect a poor rule instantly.
Or something.

Anyway, the point is that I wish to design a prestige class for people who use crossbows and deal with clockwork-style technology in vaguely advanced civilizations.

The PrC is designed for Ptolus.

Master of the Locked Bow
Crossbows are something of an oddity. Originally made as an easy way for peasants and other unskilled people to serve as archers in an army, the crossbow has not taken an esteemed place among those who take combat seriously. Although it is easy to use and somewhat more powerful than a bow in raw terms, it is far harder to become more skillful with a crossbow than with a regular bow. A crossbow provides few benefits over a bow for those who have the time to truly master either.
That said, there are some who attempt to find deeper uses for the crossbow. By exploiting benefits a crossbow can provide beyond the simple ease of use, a master of the locked bow can produce effects that rival a master of the traditional bow. These people are relatively rare, as the crossbow has remained the province of those unable to use an actual bow.
Masters of the locked bow are natural tinkers, who take great advantage of the stock and locking mechanism of the crossbow by adding further bits of machinery. Few people willing to spend their time mastering the weapon ignore the possibilities a crossbow offers.
Most masters of the locked bow come from the fighter or rogue classes. Some martially minded bards and clerics also take up the class. Barbarians rarely have the time to load and aim a crossbow, while paladins and rangers usually consider the crossbow the province of the unskilled. Sorcerers and wizards almost never chose the class, despite the crossbow being their standard choice of ranged weapon.

Hit Die: d6

To qualify to become a master of the locked bow, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Base Attack Bonus: +5
Skills: Craft (weaponsmithing) 8 ranks, Craft (machines) 5 ranks.
Feats: Rapid Reload, Point Blank Shot, Weapon Focus (any crossbow)

Note: Craft (machines) is for, well, crafting clockwork things.

Class Skills
The master of the locked bow's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (machines) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), and Swim (Str).
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Master of the Locked Bow
Fort Save|
Ref save|
Will Save|

+0|Crossbow focus, crossbow trick

+0|Virtual feats

+1|Crossbow trick

+1|Universal utility

+1|Varied feat, crossbow trick[/table]

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the master of the locked bow prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Masters of the locked bow gain proficiency with all kinds of crossbows (including exotic sorts).

Crossbow Focus (Ex): A master of the locked bow treats all crossbows as the type chosen for weapon focus and rapid reload, and for any other feat that applies to a single type of weapon (such as Weapon Specialization). Essentially, any feat that requires the master to choose a specific type of crossbow instead applies to all crossbows.
Note: Vaguely powerful, considering the master's sudden gain of all crossbows as proficiencies. Perhaps delay the crossbow tricks until level 2?

Crossbow Trick (Ex): At 1st level and every two levels thereafter, a master of the locked bow chooses one of the following crossbow tricks. Once chosen, the trick is a permanent part of the master of the locked bow's repertoire and may not be exchanged. A master of the locked bow cannot choose the same trick twice. A trick applies to all crossbows.
Close Quarters Ranged Combat: The character does not provoke attacks of opportunity for using (either reloading or shooting) a crossbow.
Deadeye Shot: The critical multiplier for any crossbow the character wields increases by one (usually from x2 to x3). The benefit of this ability does not stack with any other effect that increase critical multipliers.
Instant Reload: The time required to reload a crossbow is reduced by one step (from a full round action to a move action, or from a move action to a free action - usually this only applies to heavy crossbows, which now take a free action to reload, but any crossbow that is not already at the point of requiring a free action is affected).
Ranged Disarm: The character can make a disarm attempt even on a ranged attack. Such an attack provokes no attack of opportunity (except as normal for using a ranged weapon). For the purpose of this disarm attempt, treat the character's ranged weapon as a light weapon. If the character fails this disarm attempt, the defender can't attempt to disarm him.
Trip Shot: The character may use his crossbow to make a trip attempt against a target within 30'. The character makes a normal attack against the opponent with a crossbow. If the attack succeeds, in addition to doing damage as normal, the character makes a Dexterity check with a +4 bonus opposed by the opponent's Dexterity check or Strength check (whichever ability score has the higher modifier). Other modifiers may apply on this opposed check (see page 158 of the Player's Handbook). If the character wins the opposed check, the opponent is tripped. If the character fails this opposed check, the opponent can't attempt to trip him. This ability does not stack with the feat Improved Trip (the character is considered to have it already).
Note: There are only five. Perhaps more?

Virtual Feat (Ex): By tinkering with the mechanics of his crossbow, a master of the locked bow can build in abilities not normally present in the workings. These feats allow the wielder of the crossbow to use them, but only in relation to the crossbow they are built into. Starting at 2nd level, a master of the locked bow can build in a number of virtual feats equal to his class level + his Intelligence bonus. This limit is the number of feats he may build into a crossbow - any individual crossbow may have any mix of feats built into it, up to the maximum number available to the master of the locked bow.
The feats must be chosen from the following list: Point Blank Shot, Far Shot, Precise Shot, Deadeye Shot*, Improved Precise Shot, Ranged Disarm*, Ranged Pin*, Ranged Sunder*, Sharp-Shoting*, Rapid Shot, Rapid Reload, Weapon Focus, Crossbow Sniper*, Weapon Specialization, Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization (a * designates a feat taken from CWar or PHBII). Any feat-based prerequisites must be met in the crossbow (ex. the crossbow must have Point Blank Shot built in as a virtual feat before Far Shot may be built in), but other prerequisites (such as fighter level or an ability prerequisite) can be ignored. Only the master of the locked bow responsible for building in the feat may use it.
Building in a feat requires 100 gp of raw materials, plus 100 gp more for every prerequisite a feat has, and a successful craft (machines) check against DC 20, and a day of work. Failing this craft check wastes the day of work and 50 gp of raw materials. A master of the locked bow may also remove a virtual feat by spending an hour and succeeding on a DC 15 craft (machines) check. Failure means that the hour is wasted and that the virtual feat is nonfunctional but still takes up space - a successful DC 15 craft (machines) check and another hour of work is necessary to fully remove it.
Feats may only be built into masterwork weapons. Virtual feats and feats the user of the crossbow possesses do not stack, but overlap - a crossbow with weapon focus built into it provides no benefit to someone who already has weapon focus with that crossbow.
Virtual feats must be cared for by the original creator - after a week of inattention, the delicate clockwork mechanisms break down, though the normal functioning of the crossbow (as a normal masterwork crossbow) is not impaired. Any individual crossbow may have up to the maximum number of virtual feats built in, though a master may only care for a number of crossbows equal to half his class level, rounded up.
Note: Again, "Any feat-based prerequisites must be met in the crossbow (ex. the crossbow must have Point Blank Shot built in as a virtual feat before Far Shot may be built in)." This is intended to be something of a balance point.

Universal Utility (Ex): At 4th level, a master of the locked bow may build a number of "universal" feats into a crossbow up to his intelligence modifier. These may not be built into a crossbow that already possesses virtual feats from earlier tinkerings. Each feat costs double the amount of raw materials to build in (and 100 gp of raw materials is wasted in the case of a failure), but may be used by anyone proficient in the crossbow that has an intelligence of at least 11. While any individual crossbow is limited to the master's intelligence, a master may only have one of these crossbows, if level 4, or two, if level 5. As with virtual feats, universal feats break down after a week of not being cared for by the original crafter.

Varied Feat (Ex): At 5th level, a master of the locked bow is able to build in an extra feat into a crossbow, beyond the normal allowed (class level + intelligence modifier). This feat can be chosen from any of the feats available as a fighter bonus feat, but the crossbow must be drawn for the feat to function, and any feat that can be applied to a weapon must be applied to the crossbow itself. Alternatively, this extra feat may take the form of an additional crossbow trick. Varied feat may not be applied as a "universal" feat, and can only be used by the master. This feat requires a total of 600 gp of raw materials, a DC 25 craft (machines) check, and three days of work to build into a crossbow, with failure on the craft check incurring the waste of 200 gp worth of raw materials. Unlike virtual feats, a master may only care for one varied feat, which requires regular attention, cleaning, and other upkeep.
Note: The point of this is that any fighter feat can be added in, as long as it affects the crossbow if it affects a weapon.

Numbers: A level five Master of the Locked Bow with an int of 16 (the "standard") can have a maximum of three (class/2) personal crossbows, each with 8 (class plus int) feats (and one with an additional feat) and two (level 5) "universal" crossbows, each with 3 (int) feats.
While the universal crossbows could be sold, they would stop working after a week.
A level one Master (int 16), by contrast, could have one personal crossbow, with four feats on it.

So... thoughts?

Seriously, I'd like any sort of response, even if it's just "scrap it."

2007-01-21, 08:24 PM
Looks fine to me. I don't think granting access to exotic crossbows is a problem. He can only use one at a time. Seems like it should exist in the context of a number other weapon specialist PrCs...

2007-01-21, 10:44 PM
For the ranged disarm and trip shot, their are Complete Warrior feats that grant these abilities. Maybe the class should simply grant those feats? Otherwise, it looks okay, though I would need some playtesting before I can actually confirm its balance. I really like seeing a class that encourages the use of crossbows instead of bows.

2007-01-22, 09:01 AM
They are based primarily on the tricks that exotic weapon masters and master throwers get.